Single-segment speed run of Final Fantasy III, done on July 24 2007. Available in five versions: low/normal quality DivX, and normal/high/low quality H.264 MPEG-4.
I would like to give a big thanks the following people:
* First, my husband Denton, who still puts up with my speedrunning obsessions, and who also took apart the old SNES controllers and cleaned them for me so they would work better for this run. I love you!
* My brother Brian, whose FFIII cartridge and Super Nintendo I borrowed to do this run--although there wasn't much he could do about it. ;)
* Peter Tiernan, for doing the segmented run, which gave me the motivation to do this run and also had a bunch of good strategies that I used.
* erokky, for doing the TAS of this game, where I got a lot of other time-saving ideas.
* MasterZED, for his very helpful FFIII guides on his webpage found here.
* Novalia_Spirit, for his/her Mag Roader guide on GameFAQs, which helped me figure out how to get the most MP out of those battles.
* The entire SDA team: Radix, nate, mikwuyma, and DJGrenola, for making SDA such a great site.
* And all those who gave me help or encouragement on the SDA forums--I don't want to list names for fear I'll forget someone!
I must have been insane to do this run. Final Fantasy VI/III was the first Final Fantasy I ever played, and it is and always has been my favorite game. Consequentially, I wanted to do a run on it, but there was already a segmented run on SDA; so I got the bright idea to try a single-segment run of this game. At first, I planned to follow the same route as the segmented run, but then I watched the TAS done by erokky, and I realized that there were many improvements that could be made, including not needing to level up in the dinosaur forest, not fighting the Magi Master, not needing to learn so many spells, and not having to get Locke in the WoR.
The hardest part of planning this run was figuring out which spells I needed, who to have learn them, and finding the fastest way to learn them. I did many test runs trying out different ideas until I came up with the plan that I used in this run. It isn't the fastest plan I came up with, but it's the safest for a single-segment run while still not sacrificing too much time.
Joker Doom is used a *lot* in this game. MasterZED has a lot of information on slots which was very helpful in this run. Basically, if you use an Echo Screen at the beginning of the battle, it sets it up so you can use Joker Doom. There are a few battles that don't allow you to get 7-7-7 even if you use an Echo Screen, though, including Ultros #4 and the 3 Tiers; however, there is still a way to do Joker Doom in these battles (see comments for the final battles). Other times, I use Vanish/Doom to make the battles go quickly.
This run was so long that I had to switch tapes twice during it. Since the in-game timer doesn't run when you pause during battles, I made sure to switch tapes when I was in a battle screen. The first time is just after defeating Dadaluma, and the second is when Kefka is turning the Espers into magicite in Thamasa.
-------- Narshe --------
I set battle speed to 6 (which affects only enemies and not my party) and message speed to 1. I also leave the battle mode on Wait for the entire run; this might make me lose some time, but it also allows me to use a wait trick to delay enemies' attacks. If you see me waiting in menus during battles, it's so that the enemies' ATB bars don't fill up during that time, which will hopefully make them do fewer attacks. I tried to use this as much as possible when it would be beneficial.
I avoid the second and third battles here by walking around the square that triggers them, and I was pretty lucky to get no encounters in the mines (which hardly ever happens).
Whelk: Here is the first time I use the wait trick to make sure Terra gets 2 turns before Whelk goes into its shell. I wished I could kill it before it goes into its shell, like the TAS does, but that requires *tons* of luck, so I didn't go for it.
I needed Terra to get to level 5 before Locke appears, so that Locke and Edgar will join at one level higher (more important for Edgar, so he can kill stuff in one hit with Autocrossbow). This is the only out-of-the-way leveling up that I do in this run.
Marshal: Thanks to the TAS, I learned a quicker way to get past the guards, which forunately isn't all that hard to pull off. I strip off Mog's equipment to get his strong shield (which will be used until the WoR and then sold for money). You know, it wasn't until completing this part that I wondered if using Mog's party would be faster than Locke's party; Locke is faster, but Mog's on a higher level, although I'd have to remove his weapon. Ah well.
I run away from enemies in the desert because I can't kill them in one round. That's pretty much the criteria I used for whether I should fight enemies or run from them: If I could kill the enemies in one round, then I do so (because it helps to have higher levels), but if I couldn't, then I run away.
--------------- Figaro Castle ---------------
The Chancellor decides to be annoying this time--you'll see in this run I had a lot of trouble with NPCs getting in the way, more than I usually do.
M-tek Armor x2: Locke doesn't steal anything, but no big deal. Terra must refrain from using magic until after the cave so that Locke and Edgar don't freak out. Since I made sure to level Terra up, Edgar can kill them in two hits.
---------------------- Cave to South Figaro ----------------------
The first fight could have optimized a little better by having Locke attack first (since he's got higher speed, he'd get his next turn quicker), but I usually don't run into that formation and I wasn't ready for it.
-------------- South Figaro --------------
I have a little trouble with NPCs, but it could have been a lot worse. (I remember one attempt where everyone got piled up, and neither Shadow nor I could get through.) I finally get Sprint Shoes, yay! I don't necessarily need 3 pairs, but they save some hassle in the menu, and I have the money for them. It would be faster to wait until Locke's scenario to pick up the Hyper Wrist and Running Shoes, but they are pretty helpful for areas before that. Chocobos are faster than walking; btw, I love how they don't give you riding instructions until after you've been forced to ride one.
----------- Mt. Kolts -----------
Edgar's still the power house, especially once he gets the Atlas Armlet. You're forced to step on a save point on the Lete River, so I would have had to step on one eventually, although I don't use it for saving. Nothing too special about the battles here; I don't think I ran into as many Tuskers as I normally do, which is a nice timesaver.
Vargas: You'll probably notice that I select Blitz, cancel, then select it again and input the blitz. I found that if the cursor isn't already on Blitz, when I input the blitz it's incorrect. (It probably has to do with the way I trained myself to do blitzes quickly.) So whenever the cursor doesn't start out on Blitz, I have to select, cancel, and select again in order to get it correct. Kind of annoying, I know, but it works for me. Too bad I wasn't able to do Pummel before he did Doom Fist.
-------------------- Returners' Hideout --------------------
Saying no to Banon three times is of course faster, plus it gets me the Genji Glove, which will be helpful against Ultros #2.
------------ Lete River ------------
This part can be done without putting Banon in the back row, but I didn't want to take that chance. I try to always kill enemies here in one round or faster, which gets easier as I go along since everyone gains some levels here.
Ultros: I probably shouldn't have done that last Fire spell with Terra, since then I have to sit through Ultros' dialogue.
This is how I decided in what order to do the scenarios: Banon's scenario is first so I can remove Edgar's relics and use them in Sabin's scenario, then Sabin's is next so I can buy Smoke Bombs in Nikeah to use in Locke's scenario.
------------------ Banon's Scenario ------------------
I messed up in one battle where I forgot that Fire won't kill 1st Classes. Again thanks to the TAS, I take a slightly faster route at the security checkpoint.
------------------ Sabin's Scenario ------------------
It's not worth it to pick up Shadow, especially since he could run off at any time.
--------------- Imperial Camp ---------------
Leader: Easy, as always; fortunately he didn't counter and I got the Black Belt (worth a lot of money) instead of a Fenix Down.
The battles before getting the MagiTek Armor could have been faster if the enemies would have attacked Cyan more; he usually counters when they do this, but annoyingly he didn't counter either time that he was attacked. I try to make it through the entire camp without healing Sabin, but I got a little worried near the end.
I put Sabin's and Cyan's cursors on Fenix Down in the Item menu at this point so they'll be ready to use it on Ghost Train, since I probably won't have time to do it while on the train. (Remember, battle mode is on Wait, so I don't want to waste time in the battle menus.)
---------------------- Phantom Forest/Train ----------------------
I run from everything here except lone enemies, because the experience earned isn't worth the time it takes to kill them. (Lone enemies probably aren't worth it, either, but I kill them if I can get a turn before they do to be safe.)
Ghost Train: I wasn't worried about Cyan dying, since they'll automatically get healed at Baren Falls. However, since he died, I don't have as much time as I usually do to arrange my items while the boss is dying. I'm supposed to make three empty slots near the top so that Dried Meat, Smoke Bombs, and Thunder Rods will be right there when I get them.
------------- Baren Falls -------------
Piranha/Rizopas: Rizopas shows up only after a set amount of time, so it's best to kill the last Piranha right when that time is up; hence, all the waiting in this battle. I tried to do the rest of my item arranging while he died, but I didn't quite get it all done, so I had to improvise a little during Locke's scenario.
-------------- Veldt/Mobliz --------------
Misfortune hits me here: I run into two unescapable battles on my way to Mobliz. At least Gau showed up on the way to Crescent Mountain so I didn't have to waste time trying to get him. Watch as I use my mystical powers (or maybe just my thumb) to enter Mobliz backwards. ;)
---------------- Serpent Trench ----------------
The battles here aren't random; well, the enemies you fight are, but not the battles themselves. Taking the first right path will result in one fewer battle. Again, it's not worth it to fight the enemies here, especially when there are dangerous Aspiks.
-------- Nikeah --------
No more manually running from battles, now that I can buy Smoke Bombs! I don't have enough money to buy as many as I'll need for the entire run, so I get enough to last me until I can buy the rest.
------------------ Locke's Scenario ------------------
Another thanks to the TAS for the biggest sequence break. I haven't tried it, but apparently you can go on through the game without getting Celes, and she gets replaced with one of the moogles from earlier. I need Celes, though, so I get her.
Tunnel Armor: The Thunder Rod actually saves more time against Kefka instead of Tunnel Armor, but this battle is the more dangerous of the two.
-------- Narshe --------
I made my main group be group 2 because if I didn't, there's a chance one of the soldiers would run into group 2 before I get to Kefka. Once again, I skip all the soldiers and go straight for Kefka, though I take a little extra time to make sure I don't run into Rider.
Kefka: It would have been faster to not use Runic, but of course it would also be more dangerous. Celes wouldn't have Earrings though, so she wouldn't do all that much damage anyway.
I go out of my way to pick up Elixirs, not because I'll use them, but so I can sell them before Dullahan to make my GP end in 0.
--------------- Figaro Castle ---------------
With Edgar in the lead, I get discounts here, so this is the cheapest place to buy Fenix Downs (needed for the final battle, but also "just in case";).
The Hero Ring is invaluable (like Earrings and Atlas Armlet in one), and luckily it's on the way to the chocobo stable.
------ Zozo ------
I run away from HadesGigas because their Magnitude8 is scary. I was lucky that the one lone Slam Dancer I ran into didn't wipe out my whole party. (Why are they more aggressive when they're alone?)
Dadaluma: Sometimes I can defeat him without him healing himself, but it didn't happen here. At least he didn't have time to call for help. Here is the first time I had to pause to switch tapes.
I remember that during the conversation with Ramuh, I was talking on the phone. (I was the only person home at the time, and it was an important call.) Fortunately all I had to do was mash A during that part, so you probably won't even be able to tell.
Magic-learning time! Figuring out which spells I needed, who should learn them, and the fastest way to learn them took some of the biggest planning in this run. I wanted to avoid spending time learning spells in the Maranda desert as much as possible. I'll try to explain why I equipped the Espers that I did. Celes gets Siren so she'll learn Mute for the 2nd Tier and Fire in case Ice Dragon freezes anyone; Edgar gets Kirin so he'll learn Cure for the IAF sequence and Tentacles; and Sabin gets Stray so he'll learn Muddle as a backup plan against Ultros #4.
-------- Jidoor --------
I could probably have bought 10 fewer Echo Screens, but I wanted to make sure I wouldn't run out of them. Another chocobo saves the day!
------------- Opera House -------------
I don't waste any time trying to dodge the rats; if they aren't already out of the way, it's unlikely that I'll get past them. Usually I get past one of them, though; oh well.
Ultros: Sabin always dies in this battle, so that's not unexpected. Ultros is pretty pathetic here.
I switch Sabin to Ramuh so he can summon him against the enemies in the Magitek Factory, which are weak against lightning. Fortunately, he already learned Muddle, so I don't have to switch him back to Stray. I also move Sabin into the lead to manipulate the Mag Roader battles so that I get the most MP out of them. (See the Mag Roader FAQ for more details.)****************
------------------------ Vector/Magitek Factory ------------------------
The only things I pick up here a (Thunder Blade and Break Blade) are for selling later.
Ifrit/Shiva: Sometimes this battle is easy, and sometimes it's very hard. It depends on how many times Ifrit/Shiva double-turn Celes and whether or not they use attacks that she can Runic. This was one of the better battles--normally Shiva changes back to Ifrit before the battle ends.
Ifrit is useless, although I thought I had a use for Shiva. (Turns out I didn't need her at all, as you'll see later on, but you have to pick her up later.)
No. 024: He used Overflow once, but luckily nothing serious happened because of it. Usually I can kill him before he does WallChange, but it didn't happen this time. Again, I use the time during his death animation to my advantage.
Now Sabin gets Phantom to learn Vanish, Edgar gets Shoat to learn Doom, and Locke gets Kirin to summon against No. 128. Since Sabin was and is in the lead, I get the most MP possible from the Mag Roaders.
No. 128: How easy or hard this battle is depends mainly on how many times Sabin decides to attack the middle part with Aurabolt. (He has never had Fire Dance by this point in all my attempts.) Luckily it cast Net on Locke instead of one of the others.
Crane x2: Joker Doom ftw! You'd better get used to the pausing--you're gonna be seeing it a lot. ;)
---------------------- Zozo/Esper Flashback ----------------------
The flashback is boring as usual. Setzer takes Siren to learn Mute for the 2nd Tier and Fire in case Celes gets frozen by Naughtys while escaping the Floating Continent, and Sabin and Edgar will continue to learn Vanish and Doom, respectively.
-------- Narshe --------
I think I had a little trouble flying the airship to Narshe because there was a glare on the tv right over the world map. Nothing exciting except adding another Elixir to my inventory.
------------------------- Cave to the Sealed Gate -------------------------
Edgar needs to learn Doom before Ultros #4, and in order for that to happen, he needs to get at least 16 MP in this cave. Thankfully Joker Doom comes to the rescue! I messed up Joker Doom once; if Setzer had ended up summoning Bahamut, I probably would have just fought out the battle, but since he didn't, it was quicker to just run away and try again. I have made it through this part without messing up Joker Doom, but one mess-up isn't that bad. (More than one probably would have caused a restart.) Again, the Tempest is for selling later on. At the part with the changing bridges, I was lucky to get a battle right as the bridges changed, because they immediately change again right after a battle, saving a bit of time. Also of note is that this is the last area in the run where I fight random encounters instead of running away; it's all Smoke Bombs after this!
Kefka: Using a Smoke Bomb skips the text that normally happens at the end of this battle.
-------- Vector --------
More NPC trouble...(sigh) I really, really need the Charm Bangle, so I talk to the all the soldiers. I use the extra time that I have afterwards to arrange my items so it'll be easier when I sell stuff in Thamasa, and I just barely have time to take a potty break. ;) It's only necessary to ask Gestahl two questions to get the Charm Bangle. I could have Joker Doomed the SP Forces, but the way I did was about as fast and less risky. Using the Warp Stone inside the cafe is another trick I learned from the TAS.
Now that I have the Gale Hairpin (increases rate of preemptive encounters), Back Guard (disallows back and pincer attacks), and Charm Bangle (decreases random encounter rate), random encounters become much more tolerable from now on.
--------- Albrook ---------
Not much to say about this, actually.
--------- Thamasa ---------
Since 3 of the things I sold were near the top, the rods (ice, thunder, and fire) that I get will be in those spots for easier use during battles. Ice Rods are for Flame Eater and the Tentacles, and Thunder Rods are for Ultros #3 and Naughtys.
I do my best at dodging the flames in the burning house, but it didn't turn out that great this time--I usually dodge at least 3 more of them.
Flame Eater: In all my practices and run attempts, Terra and Strago always fell just short of killing Flame Eater, so Locke needed to summon Shiva. Somehow, though, Terra and Strago were each one level higher than normal at this point, so Shiva wasn't needed at all.
------------------ Western Mountain ------------------
Ultros: This is the only time I use Morph in the entire run. Of course, Relm being that brat that she is, decides to miss on her first Sketch attempt.
Kefka: Leo also ended up on a higher level than normal; this meant that I didn't have to worry whether he would take 4 or 5 Shocks to defeat Kefka.
My second tape switch happens during this part.
-------------- IAF Sequence --------------
I won't be taking Celes to the Floating Continent, but since she shows up anyway, I put her in the party at first to get her ready along with everyone else. Edgar will finish learning Doom during this part, Setzer starts learning Float (for 1st Tier), Celes will start learning Vanish, and Sabin gets Siren so he can summon if something goes wrong in any of the IAF battles. I would have preferred switching Sabin's and Edgar's roles at this part (since Sabin is faster, he could throw Echo Screens more quickly), but Edgar needs to learn Doom, so Sabin is in charge of summoning if needed. I started to get nervous at this part, because most of my runs ended at this part. (I only ever made it past the IAF three times.) However, things went pretty smoothly (no double Absolute 0's, woohoo!), up until the last battle when I messed up Joker Doom. (I think at the time I was trying to memorize the equipment changes for the Floating Continent, so I wasn't concentrating as much on the battle as I should have been.) Still, Sabin was prepared just in case this happened, and while I couldn't get Setzer to do anything useful for the rest of the battle (I wasn't thinking very well), I still made it through.
Ultros: This is one of the few battles where 7-7-7 Joker Doom is not allowed at all. Since Edgar didn't die during any of the previous battles, he learned Doom just in time to use it here. If he for some reason he hadn't learned it, I had a backup plan that involved Muddle and 7-7-bar Joker Doom; see comments for the final battle if you want to know what the plan was.
Air Force: As long as it doesn't do Atomic Ray (which messes up Joker Doom), it's pretty simple.
-------------------- Floating Continent --------------------
Edgar starts learning Remedy now (will be used in the final battles). Getting Shadow will just waste time. I was *very* lucky not to run into any Ninjas (which you can't run from); if the Ninjas each get a turn before I can pull off Joker Doom, then my party gets wiped out.
Atma Weapon: Laughably easy. During his death animation, I move all my items that sell for 1 GP near the top for easier finding.
After the long cutscenes, which was a nice break, I give Sabin's Running Shoes to Celes in the hopes that she'll get the first turn in the coming battles. I have never run into so many Naughtys before! Usually I have at least one Thunder Rod left after this part, but not this time. On the other hand, I killed Nerapa before he did long Condemned attacks! Setzer is ready throughout to cast Fire on Celes if she happens to get frozen, but luckily it doesn't happen.
And the world was changed forever...
----------------- Solitary Island -----------------
On average, saving Cid is faster than letting him die. However, I'm not quite sure if it was faster here--this was some of the worst luck I've ever had with the fish. Too bad there's not much I can do about it in a single-segment run...
-------- Nikeah --------
I buy an Enhancer to raise Celes's magic power against the upcoming Tentacles. It's too bad that I don't have enough money to buy all that I need here, which will necessitate another trip here in just a little bit. In preparation for Dullahan, since I can't be sure what levels everyone is going to be on, I play it safe and make my GP end in 0. (If I did everything right, I should have exactly 9 items that sell for 1 GP, so I can always make it end in 0.)
-------------- South Figaro --------------
Wasn't I just on a chocobo...?
---------------------- Cave to South Figaro ----------------------
The back attack against Dante really scared me; if he had done QuartzPike, I would definitely have been dead.
--------------- Figaro Castle ---------------
I pick up the Crystal Helm (sells for a decent amount of money) and the Gravity Rod for the upcoming battle. Celes is moved to the 3rd party spot so that the Tentacles can't cast Poison/Bio on both Celes and Edgar in one turn.
Tentacle x4: This battle is always scary, and this time was no exception. I cannot stress enough how lucky I was that Bio missed! Usually Edgar gets one Drill in so I don't have to use my last Ice Rod, but alas, not this time.
----------- Kohlingen -----------
Now Edgar will finish learning Remedy and Setzer will finish learning Float (both needed for the final battles).
-------------- Daryl's Tomb --------------
I pick up the Crystal Mail to sell for money in just a little bit and the Man Eater for raising M. Block. Thanks again to the TAS for giving me the idea of using a Warp Stone partway through here to avoid some random encounters.
Dullahan: His first attack is always L? Pearl, so as long as I made sure my GP ends in 0, he doesn't get a chance to hurt me.
The rest of the World of Ruin is getting only the people/things that I need to make it through Kefka's Tower, and it goes surprisingly quickly. I needed 6 people in total, 2 for each party in Kefka's Tower: one party would do Vanish/Doom, and the other two would do Echo Screen/Joker Doom. Celes, Edgar, and Setzer and mandatory, and Mog is a no-brainer because of the Moogle Charm. I also get Gogo since he can mimic Joker Doom. The 6th person was the next quickest to get: Sabin, which works out nice since he already learned all the magic he needs to know.
---------------- Maranda Desert ----------------
Just a quick stop here to make sure Celes learns Vanish (not actually needed until Kefka's Tower, but it makes Ice Dragon a lot easier), and it doesn't hurt to pick up some extra money. Thanks to Red_Scarlet for telling me that Drill works on Cactrots.
--------- Maranda ---------
This is the last time that I sell stuff. I needed 52,000 GP to buy everything necessary for Kefka's Tower, and usually I get that much easily; however, I usually have two rods left at this point, which sell for a lot. So I waste a little bit of time finding things to sell in order to get enough money. The Tao Robe will be for Gogo, which raises his M. Block by 10%. (I'll explain more about it at the final battle comments.)
-------- Narshe --------
Of course I get Mog for his Moogle Charm! Then I make another trip here to get one of the two Force Shields from Ice Dragon; it would be *very* hard to survive Kefka's Tower without both shields.
Ice Dragon: I could use either Vanish/Doom or Joker Doom here, depending on who gets frozen by his first move. Luckily, no one got frozen, and so I used the easier method.
-------- Nikeah --------
Now that I have more money, I'm able to buy all that I need here. Everything that I buy is for boosting M. Block; there's a glitch in the game that makes Evade do nothing and M. Block count for both M. Block and Evade, so the best way to avoid enemies' attacks is to boost M. Block as much as possible (although anything higher than 128 is pointless).
----------------- Fanatics' Tower -----------------
Just a quick visit to pick up one of the two Force Armors, which like the Shield is pretty much required in order to survive Kefka's Tower. I had a little trouble on the stairs, but not too bad considering how long I'd been playing at this point.
------ Tzen ------
I wait to do this part until I have the Moogle Charm, so it goes really quickly. I have to get Sabin before Gogo because I want Mog to go alone to Triangle Island (so I don't have to wait for Zone Eater to Engulf four people), and you can't change your party until you have a fifth person.
----------------- Triangle Island -----------------
I wait to change my party until I'm right over the island in case I get attacked by Doom Gaze. (Thankfully, he never attacked me.) I was very lucky with the green men; sometimes I have to wait quite a while to get past the second one. The Thunder Shield is a precaution for the 3rd Tier (explained later).
--------------- Kefka's Tower ---------------
Already it's time for Kefka's Tower! By this time, I was really getting nervous. I had only ever made it to Kefka's Tower once before in all of my attempts. I set it up so that each group had one of the three people who could wear Force Armor (Celes, Edgar, and Setzer). Group 2 takes the most steps, so I put Mog in that group. Group 3 fights the most bosses, so I put the two people who could get the highest combined M. Block in that group (Celes and Gogo).
A bunch of things make this place difficult: Gt. Behemoths and Land Worms can't be run from, and Land Worms can do an attack (Lode Stone) that messes up Joker Doom. Also, Outsiders can instantly kill my party if they both get a turn before I do. Fortunately, I ran into a lot fewer Gt. Behemoths than usual, the one Land Worm didn't mess up Joker Doom, and I barely got away from the one Outsiders battle (again, pretty scary).
I'm not sure that I went through here with the fewest group switches, but I optimized it so that I could avoid having to change equipment as much as possible. Group 2 goes first so they can pick up the other Force Armor and Force Shield for the other groups to use. While walking, the groups always equip Back Guard, Gale Hairpin, Charm Bangle, and Sprint Shoes so I can deal with encounters more easily, and then right before bosses I give them White Capes to boost M. Block in the hopes that the bosses' attacks will miss. I'm sorry that the boss fights here might not be that interesting, but hopefully the final battles will make up for them.
Inferno: If he had used Atomic Ray as his first attack and it hit someone, it would have messed up Joker Doom; I had a backup plan for that just in case (just needed to use a Potion and then I could use Joker Doom).
Guardian: Same old, same old.
Poltergeist: See above.
Goddess: There was one run attempt that made it clear to here, and I was just thinking that it would be the last time that I'd have to do Echo Screen/Joker Doom...and then I messed up Joker Doom. :( I tried my hardest not to let that happen this time.
The final battles all went perfectly, which is pretty amazing considering how nervous I was at this point. I probably should explain how these battles worked. Normally, 7-7-7 Joker Doom isn't allowed in the three Tier battles; however, 7-7-bar Joker Doom *is* allowed. There is also a glitch which makes it so that if Setzer is going to do 7-7-bar Joker Doom, and he gets Muddled and un-Muddled before taking his turn, then Joker Doom will target the enemies instead of the party (I call this a "reverse Joker Doom";). Combine these two things, and the Tier battles become a whole lot easier. Then Gogo can also mimic Joker Doom, but some weird things can happen with it. (See Master ZED's Slots FAQ for more information about these tricks.)
Tier 1: The lower left hand is susceptible to Break, so I get rid of it right away to avoid its final attack (Shockwave). Sometimes Break misses, though, so I was very glad that it worked on the first try. Then I get Setzer and Gogo on low HP so that Celes will protect them from this Tier's physical attacks with True Knight; the easiest way to get low HP is to kill them instantly (must Vanish Gogo first because he has high M. Block). (Celes and Edgar have above 128 M. Block, so not much is going to be hitting them.) The timing to pull off the reverse Joker Doom can be tricky. I Vanish Setzer first to give me more time to put in Gogo's and Edgar's commands before haivng to do Joker Doom, and also because sometimes Muddle misses if he isn't vanished. I have to wait until Gogo starts casting Muddle before inputting Setzer's 7-7-bar (or else he'll do Joker Doom before Edgar un-muddles him, which will cause him to Joker Doom my entire party), and then I have to finish inputting it before the Muddle spell is finished or I lose control of Setzer. Plus inputting 7-7-bar is harder than 7-7-7, because when 7-7-7 is allowed, the slots help you get the second 7 (you can be a few away from it when you push A and you'll still get it), but when 7-7-7 isn't allowed, it doesn't help you (meaning the slots have to be right below the second 7 when I push A). So I was a little more cautious when doing Setzer's slots here. To un-muddle Setzer, the only thing that works is the Remedy spell; the remedy item doesn't get rid of muddle, and I couldn't use a physical attack because Celes would block it. Setzer's Float spell finally comes in handy!
Tier 2: This Tier always gets two turns before I do, so Setzer and Gogo usually die right away. (Gogo would have been healed from Diffuser if I had equipped the Thunder Shield on him, but I want him to stay at low health so Celes protects him from 10 Hits.) Once the far left is Muted and the top is Doomed (fortunately both of those worked on the first try!), there's not a whole lot this Tier can do to hurt my people. I managed to pull off another (and my last!) reverse Joker Doom, which is amazing considering how very nervous I was. During 10 Hits, Gogo equips the Thunder Shield and Edgar unequips his Force Shield in preparation for the 3rd Tier.
Tier 3: Sometimes (not all that often, but often enough that it worried me), this Tier starts out by casting Merton (which ignores M. Block, so it *will* hit everyone). I really didn't want to take the chance that I'd get this far and then get wiped out by Merton; fortunately, Merton is fire and wind elemental, and the Thunder Shield nullifes wind, which is why I equipped it on Gogo just before this. My plan was that if it did Merton, before killing it Gogo would equip the Force Shield and I would pray that he had enough M. Block to block Calmness. I didn't actually have to worry about any of this, though. Like I said before, mimicking Joker Doom does some weird things, which is why I have to do it twice. (I won't explain it here, so see Master ZED's slots FAQ if you want details on why it acts like this.)
Kefka: I think I was in shock when I made it here. His first attack is always Fallen One, so there really wasn't any way this could get messed up. Sorry if the final battle seems anticlimatic, but it was the fastest way to do it!
Have fun watching the stripped-down ending! I had a lot of fun doing this run on my all-time favorite game, even though I still think I was crazy to do this! I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did. If you have any questions or comments about this run, feel free to email me at fouressentia AT yahoo DOT com.